I often get asked “How can you teach a subject if you never studied it?”
Hmm Well, if I am 100% honest most of the time I am NOT teaching the kids. Yip. Most of the time I am just guiding the kids while they learn and discover and I am normally involved in that learning and studying myself, so we often tend to learn together.
A great example is Geography. I never liked Geography at school so as soon as I was given an option I dropped it as a subject. But we are actually doing a lot of Geography at the moment, Geography that I never covered at school and I am learning alongside the kids. We are all learning together. The difference is I actively search out resources about the topics and think of other things that might link in. But really, I never knew about the different Stages of a River, the Rock Cycle or Biomes – all of which we have covered and all of which I have learnt about together with the kids.
I am not concerned about this and I am actually thinking Geography might be one of the subjects that my kids choose to write exams in. And yes if they choose to write a Geography exam I will be the one facilitating everything, guiding them and helping them when they need help. But the thing is everything we need to know can be found in books and on the internet. Everything is out there to be discovered and learnt. The key is having the desire to want to learn it and then actively going out and finding the resources.
My kids know I don’t know everything, in fact when we are discussing dinosaurs or animals I sometimes ask them to fact check me (because my son’s knowledge on both subjects is exceptionally detailed). Likewise I know that my daughter has lots of History dates at her fingertips, dates that I often can’t remember. And the kids LOVE this. They love that there are certain facts that I double check with them and equally they Love it when they ask me a question and I say “I don’t know, lets find out together” or “I don’t know that, do you want to research that and then come and tell me the answer.”
There is nothing better than that look on one of their faces when they have gone off to find something out and then come to explain to me. Such pride.
For me it comes back to my basic desire to create Life Long Learners. I want the kids to enjoy learning and I want them to be confident enough that when a question arises they can research it themselves.
So No I am NOT an expert on all of subjects and Yes there are subjects that I did not study at school and Yes I am actually “teaching” my kids those subjects too.